Monthly Archives: June 2011

Menu for the week

Wednesday: Ice cream, yes, super healthy, but they worked hard, so I got them ice cream and they were not hungry then for dinner, so I did not make it and I forgot to eat and ate some cheese and crackers with popcorn.

Thursday: Steak and pepper tacos

Friday:  Borcht, bread

Saturday: Spicy Honey Chicken, rice, broccoli

Sunday: Leftovers on salad, popcorn

Monday: Fourth of July…..BBQ, supposed to bring meat and side dish to share.

Tuesday:  Pizza turnovers, salad

 

 

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Filed under Bargain Dinners, Recipes

Baby Shower

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Baby Ellina

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Food- Mishael made a watermelon carriage

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Taco Salad Bar

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Memory Table

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Gifts

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Dessert Table- Rhubarb Pie Bar recipe is below on another post

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Tea Sandwiches

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Mishael opening gifts- She got this beautiful afghan in the mail from a MOMYS. She was so happy!
The giver also donated two other blankets in memory of Ellina’s sisters.

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Three Little lambs

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A vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley

A vision of Lucy
by Margaret Brownley

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Lucy dreams of being a photographer, even in a town where her photography is not appreciated. She wants not to just be a photographer, but she wants to be one for the local newspaper. She hopes that if she can achieve her goal, her widower father will see her value and worth, more than just a nuisance.
Lucy is like a magnet for trouble though, she attempts to photograph a horse, and ends up being part of a stage robbery, she tries to photograph the strange recluse living outside of town and falls into a pit. How her camera survived, I am not sure….

David Wolf, the recluse that lives out of town, has come there to exact something from childhood bullies who almost killed him. He wants nothing to do with forgiveness that Lucy wants to teach him about, but can they both learn some lessons from each other.

It took me a minute when I started reading this book to put the right age on Lucy. I imagined her to be about 12 years old the way she was acting in the beginning, but I soon realized her to be much older and actually old enough to fall in love and get married! = )

This is the third book in the Rocky Mountain Romance series! I enjoyed the way the author wove the story of forgiveness into the mystery surrounding the small town in the Rocky Mountains. You see how some people let selfishness and greed continue and how others who were bullies as children, grew up and changed their lives and their habits.

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Everyone’s home!!

Everyone made it home!!! It takes some getting used to to get back in the groove of things! You know, everyone is excited, hyped up in all the candy that Papa brought from his family. (His family thinks sugar is an essential in life and life without sugar would not be okay!).

Plus, someone sweet shared a cold with me and the little boys as I was up all night with a sore throat, actually fell asleep this afternoon and all my muscles, lymph nodes hurt. I am downing GSE and Vitamin C, so cold……beware!!! You have met your match!!!

It is funny what children will do when they come home! My 13 year old and his brother came home and set to work cleaning their room….I am not sure if everyone has kids that do that… but somehow I managed to teach them that a clean room is nice! I am not sure if I am doing a great job of repeating that with the next two, but attempting it!

This evening we went out to the lake, and sat and had pizza and salad, while my BIL gave boat rides. It was cold, I had to take a pain pill to feel like I could move, but they all had fun (thankfully they were the ones who gave me the cold…so not worried about spreading it). The highlight of the evening was when my BIL’s iPhone fell in the lake and you could not see the bottom. The boys found a pair of shorts and goggles and my brother dove into the freezing lake to look. We gave it up as hopeless, when up he came with the phone in hand, the hero of the night!!!

So, I am off to bed, to nurse a cup of chamomile tea, and drink more Vit. C and GSE before bed!!!

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The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder

My Review:
Two babies born on two different sides of the world. On the same day. What could they possibly have in common?
Through this story set in the late 1990’s, you read of a mysterious bond that links these two families together, dating back to the 1940’s. Interwoven with historical facts, some in the not too far gone past and even a look into future time for the young people, this story has a almost mystical feel to it at times, with a watcher or angel narrating the story, in between chapters.
This short story has a depth to it, in spite of it’s brevity. I especially enjoyed the author’s notes and questions in the back, seeing that he intended to foster discussion on the book. He did an excellent job of binding some of the old prejudices we had in the 1940’s towards an ethnic group of people and the ones we have now, against certain ethnic groups as well, in a very subtle manner.
The book is unique in it’s presentation as well, as it has these neat ripped edge paper on the edges and beautiful cover! -Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Blackberry Bush

Summerside Press (June 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David Housholder is a philosophical-spiritual influencer, a sponsored snowboarder and a surfing instructor who dreams of making this world a better place. As the senior pastor at Robinwood Church, an indie warehouse church near the beach in California, he can often be found preaching verse by verse in his bare feet. With his increasing desire to change the world around him, he is the director for several non-profit organizations. Housholder loves to travel and is an international conference speaker. He has spoken to groups in Ethiopia, Malaysia, Canada and London and has also been involved with mission trips. He is especially energized by evangelistic work among Muslims.

Housholder is an avid reader and carries an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He received his undergraduate degree from Pacific Lutheran University and went on to receive his Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Then he spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the Universität-Bonn in Germany. Housholder fluently speaks three languages, English, Dutch and German, and enjoys reading biblical Greek and Hebrew.

Housholder and his wife, Wendy, have one grown son, Lars. They reside in Huntington Beach, California. Some of his hobbies include photography and tinkering on his 1971 VW bug.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The Blackberry Bush begins with two babies, Kati and Josh, who are born on opposite sides of the world at the very moment the Berlin Wall falls. You would think that such a potent freedom metaphor would become the soundtrack for their lives, but nothing could be further from the truth. They will follow a parallel path connected by a mistake their great grandparents made years before.

Despite his flawless image, Josh, an artistic and gifted Californian skateboarder and surfer, struggles to find his true role in the world. He fears that his growing aggression will eventually break him if he can’t find a way to accept his talent and the competition that comes along with it. Kati, a German with a penchant for classic Swiss watches and attic treasure-hunting, is crushed with the disappointment of never being “enough” for anyone—especially her mother. She wonders whether she will ever find the acceptance and love she craves and become comfortable in her own skin.

Craving liberation, Kati and Josh seem destined to claim their birthright of freedom together. With the help of their loving grandparents, they will unlock the secrets of their pasts and find freedom and joy in their futures. Today, like Katie and Josh, our youth often fall into two different cultures. Josh is part of the “bro” culture which is outdoor-oriented, with sports as a focus, and generally more conservative. Whereas Kati is part of the “scene” culture which is more liberal and indoor-oriented, focusing on music. These cultures are apparent in the novel and can aid in a better understanding of the issues today’s 21st century youth are facing as well as the struggles they have in coming to faith.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Summerside Press (June 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609361164
ISBN-13: 978-1609361167

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

~ Behind the Story ~

Angelo

Think for a moment. Isn’t there a splendid randomness to the way your day is coming together today?

After all, it’s not the big, dramatic things we foresee and expect that make all the difference in our lives. It’s the chance, random encounters—the subtle things that surprise us…and change the very course of our individual destinies.

The Blackberry Bush is a story about awakening to the fullness of this reality.

And you will never want to go back to sleep.

You can call me Angelo. I’ll be the one telling this story. As you and I travel together across generations and continents in a journey that will take just a few hours, you’ll discover not only the gripping stories of Kati, Josh, Walter, Nellie, and Janine but also uncover your own compelling back-story that will change you in ways you can never imagine.

And you’ll never be the same again….

PROLOGUE

1989

Berlin, Germany

Occasionally, out of nowhere, history turns on a dime in a way no one sees coming. Listen…do you hear the sound of jackhammers on dirty concrete?

“Wir sind ein Volk (We are one people)!” A large European outdoor crowd chants this over and over into the chilly November night. “Wir sind ein Volk!”

Thousands of hands hold candles high in the darkening night of Berlin. Throngs of young people with brightly colored scarves crowd the open spaces between concrete buildings. !ere are parties—with exuberant celebrants of all ages—even along the actual top of the wall. Flowers are stuffed into once-lethal Kalashnikov rises. Hope is contagious.

It’s November 9, 1989. The first sections of the Berlin Wall are removed, to mass cheers, with heavy machinery. It seems incomprehensible that a small weekly Monday prayer meeting in Pastor Magerius’s Leipzig, Germany, study grew into the pews of the Nicolai Church and eventually out into the Leipzig city square. !en today, this “Peace Prayer,” figuratively speaking, traveled up the Autobahn to Berlin and converged as an army of liberation on that iconic concrete symbol of Cold War division—with world-news cameras whirring.

Little things can make a big difference. Subtle potency. Gentle power.

“Wir sind ein Volk,” the crowd chants as one. The Berlin Wall—a filthy, gravity-based ring of rebar and concrete, tangled with barbed wire and patrolled by German shepherd attack dogs–has encircled and separated West from East for twenty-eight years. Now it is irreparably pierced.

Unthinkable. No one saw this coming.

Walls are real, you see, yet they always come down. Creation and nature never favor walls. They start to crumble, even before the mortar dries.

*

Elisabeth Hospital

Bonn, Germany

A day’s Autobahn drive from the festivities in Berlin

That same instant, a severely pregnant woman’s water breaks in the tall-windowed birthing room of the Elisabeth Hospital in Bonn, Germany.

Hours later: “Ein Mädchen (a girl)!” Een meisje, translates the exhausted mother with silently moving lips into her native Dutch. Linda, a sojourner in Germany, was born a generation ago in Holland.

Mere blocks away from the birth scene, the mighty Rhine River flows past Bonn on its way downstream to the massive industrial port city of Rotterdam, Linda’s hometown. Only a few hours away by river barge, Rotterdam, Holland, couldn’t be farther from Germany—on so many levels.

The labor has been long and brutally hard. !e father, Konrad, takes little newborn, black-haired Katarina up the elevator to the nursery. On the way up, an old woman in a wheelchair spontaneously

pronounces God’s blessing over baby “Kati” (pronounced “KAH-tee,” in the German way) with the sign of the cross. Kati focuses her glassy little eyes on the woman’s wristwatch.

Konrad is concerned about how pale Katarina is. Was her older sister, Johanna, this porcelain-skinned at birth? Perhaps it’s the thick shock of black hair that sharpens the contrast with her complexion. How will Kati and Johanna get along? he wonders. I guess that will all

start to unfold soon, when they meet each other for the first time.

I won’t be able to protect her, thinks Konrad. Parental anxiety starts creeping up his spine in ways it never did when Johanna, now two, was born.

Perhaps little Kati will need that elevator blessing, he muses uncomfortably.

*

Zarzamora, California

1989

Another Woman With Rotterdam Bloodlines, across the planet in sunny Zarzamora, California, is giving birth at the very same moment (although earlier in the day because of the time difference) to a boy. !e tiny $at-roofed hospital up in the mountains of the Los Padres forest is the port of entry for little baby Joshua.

Janine smiles up at husband, Michael, and takes a first look at Josh, expecting, for whatever reason, to see a pale baby girl. Genuinely surprised—after all, this is in the days before ultrasound was universal—to see a vibrant, reddish-hued boy, she suppresses a giggle of delight, a catharsis of joy after so many miscarriages. What fun they will have together! Will he lighten up her melancholy

disposition, perhaps?

Janine sighs in relief as she confirms to herself, We’re not going to have to take care of him much. He’s going to be okay. I’m sure of it. I can tell.

The trumpets of the practicing local high school marching band waft through the open windows as German-born father Michael washes his son off in the sink of the delivery room. The piercing eyes of baby Josh, almost white-blue, glisten in the overhead lights. They stop to focus on Michael for a fleeting minute, then zero in on some yet unseen reality behind his father’s shoulder.

Shouldn’t I be saying some ancient German words, a blessing or something, while I’m doing this? Michael asks himself.

But he can’t think of any. He is adrift in the flowing current of this new experience.

The marching band plays on outside. Are they really circling the hospital, or does it just sound like that? the new father thinks… .

~ Behind the Story ~

Angelo
I can watch both births as I pick and eat blackberries from the thicket back in rainy Bonn. I smile. Joshua looks so happy to be here. He radiates physical warmth and doesn’t seem to need his blanket. He welcomes the new climate.

But Kati doesn’t like the cold. There’s almost a 30-degree (Fahrenheit) difference in ambient temperature from the womb to the room, and I see her struggle.

And then there’s the brand-new “breathing” thing. How can breathing go from unnecessary to essential in a few seconds? Yet some days we don’t even think about breathing, not even once. Amazing. Joshua’s American birth certificate reads 11-09-1989. Kati’s European one reads 09-11-1989.

How much of their lives are preprogrammed? How much of their minds will be stamped with the thoughts of others? Is life a roll of the dice, or is it a script we just read out to the end? Don’t we all

wonder that same thing sometimes?

As Kati and Joshua start to adjust to life outside the womb, the Berlin Wall continues to crumble to shouts of joy.

I write the names Linda and Konrad in Germany, Janine and Michael in California on the inside of the book cover I’m holding. I always do that, so I don’t get confused about who’s who as I travel

through their stories.

Both fathers, Konrad and Michael, have roots in the Germany that was rebuilding after World War II. Both are self-doubting, somewhat weak Rheinlanders married to practical, sober, very Protestant Dutch women.

Katarina and Joshua are on parallel paths. But only perfectly parallel paths never meet as they stretch into infinity. And since these paths, like ours, aren’t perfect…well, you can guess what might happen in this story.

Kati and Josh, born on one of the greatest days of freedom for all human kind, will grow up snared in the blackberry bush…like you.

But if you dare to engage their story at a heart level, a fresh new freedom might just be birthed in you.

So why not listen to that subtle twitter of conception inside your soul? !e one that says, !is year something exciting is going to happen that I can’t anticipate. And I’ll never be the same….

PART ONE
1999

Oberwinter am Rhein, Germany

Just south of Bonn

Kati

I love looking out our back picture window at the rolling farms. I’m watching for Opa, my dear grandfather Harald, who said he’d be home by 4 p.m. We live at the top of the road that winds uphill from the ancient Rhine River town of Oberwinter, just upstream from Bonn. That’s how everybody here writes it, but they say “Ova-venta.” I walk up and down the sidewalk along the switchback road almost every day.

Our home is perched at the top of the hill with the front of the house facing the street that skirts the skyline of the ridge and the back looking away from the river, out at the plateau of peaceful farms, which Opa says the ancient Romans probably worked.

Opa knows a lot of secrets. If he told me what he knows every day for the rest of my life, he’d never run out of things to say. But sometimes he gets sad. He never likes to talk about how things were when he was my age. His voice starts to sound shaky, and that makes me sad too. I stopped asking him about his wartime childhood a long time ago.

My watch says it’s another hour to wait. Really, it’s his watch, big on my wrist. The leather band smells like Opa. I’m very careful with it since it’s a Glashütte, which is infinitely special.

Sometimes Opa shows me his watch collection from the big mahogany box that’s a lot like Mutti’s (that’s what I call my mother) silverware holder. But the Glashütte was always my favorite, and one day he gave it to me. I’ve worn it ever since.

Mutti was angry at Opa for giving it to me. “It’s worth as much as a car!” she said. But Opa simply smiled. He never minds when people are upset with him.

Opa’s study is a magical place. In the corner is the totem pole he brought home from Alaska. !e wooden desk is covered with a sheet hands with people in suits and, right in the middle, a recent picture of me. !e books on his shelves are in English and German. He has me read aloud from the chair across the desk from his and tells me that I speak English without an accent, just as they speak it in Seattle, Washington, where he worked for a few years. We’re on our second time through Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Opa says it’s a very important book, so I believe him.

Opa is the only one who doesn’t seem worried about me. He never seems worried about anything. I can’t remember seeing him angry. Ever.

I hope he takes me out to his workshop in the shed this evening. It’s my favorite place. My big sister, Johanna, says it’s not fun for girls, but she’s wrong. Opa has hand tools and power tools, and all of them are perfectly hung and positioned. !e shed is as clean as Mutti’s kitchen.

Opa tells me that the Bible says all people have “gifts” from God and that all the gifts are open to girls as well as boys. He tells me I have the gifts of craftsmanship and interpretation. Those are big words, but they make me feel good.

We’ve made and fixed so many things together there. I have my own safety glasses. He lets me run the band saw all by myself. I can tell by looking at his eyes that he knows I’ll be safe. Mutti doesn’t have the same look in her eyes, no matter what I’m doing.

Mutti cuts my hair really short because she’s afraid it’s going to get caught in one of the power tools. I hate how it looks. She also tries, continually, to get me to eat more. She doesn’t like how skinny I am.

Papa works in Berlin. He got transferred there when the German government moved from Bonn after the Wall fell, when I was little. He comes home on the train most weekends. He works for the foreign

diplomatic service, and he told me this month that he might get transferred again soon, and that we might have to move to America. He and Mutti have been arguing a lot about it while I try to get to sleep at night.

I can tell the arguments are bad, because Mutti slips back into Dutch when she gets angry and also when she talks to me and Johanna. Anger and parenting seem to come out of the same place inside her.

Mutti, unlike Opa, loves to talk about growing up, and how wonderful everything was then. It’s fun to hear the stories—and to see her smile while she tells them. We take the train to visit her Dutch parents often. It takes only a few hours to reach Rotterdam. I love riding through Cologne, past the blackened dual-spired cathedral. I have another grandfather in Holland who is kind of funny and crabby at the same time. I only have one grandmother, because my German Oma died of cancer before I was born.

I love Rotterdam. My Dutch grandfather (my other Opa) takes me on bike rides through the tunnel, under the big river, and to my favorite place—the Hotel New York in the heart of the port. He buys

me a chocolate milk every time, and we watch the big ships come and go. He doesn’t like to talk about Germans, even though he reminds me that they built the bike tunnel and highway under the river. Every now and then someone mentions the War. I’ve always known my Dutch grandparents don’t like my father. They say it’s not because Papa’s German, but I think it is. He never comes along on our visits to Rotterdam.

Now I’m looking out the farm-facing window, still waiting for Opa. At the end of our backyard, the blackberry bushes start and wander off into the countryside in lots of directions. I could swear

they get bigger every year. I love to play back there—especially with Johanna. I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have a few scrapes on my arms and legs from the thorns. !e farmers in the fields work so hard to raise crops, but blackberry bushes grow all by themselves without any help.

I’m getting impatient, so I enter Opa’s study to wait there. In his le” second drawer is his drawing kit. Precise instruments to make perfect circles and angles. Papa tells me Opa designed this house with that kit.

Opa lets me play with everything in his desk. Using the compass, I draw a perfect circle. !en I draw myself in it. I’ve done this so many times. But I’m older in the picture than in real life. And my hair isn’t short. But I can’t stop drawing circles with slightly different sizes. Once I caught myself drawing dozens of overlapping circles around the picture of me. I’m not smiling in any of these pictures. I think a lot when I’m drawing the circles.

To me, getting older just means harder jobs. Johanna works harder than I do, and I know I’ll have to be like her soon. She evenmakes dinner sometimes. Math problems get harder. Books lose their pictures and are more challenging to read. I learn so much better with Opa, because there’s no pressure.

My parents fight about me when they think I’m asleep. Papa was angry with Mutti because she yelled at me about my school grades. Mutti shot back with, “She has to get good grades because she’s not pretty.” My whole body froze in bed when I heard that. I’m not really sure what grades have to do with being pretty, but it’s very bad somehow. I think Papa would like to be more like Opa, but he can’t make it happen.

They don’t know how good I am at English. I speak it a lot better than they do. I have to keep from laughing when they try. There’s an American couple down in the village with a new baby, living in an

old, crooked apartment. I heard them speaking English and jumped in to their conversation. They asked me where in America I was from.

I fibbed and said, “Seattle.”

I think about America a lot. Maybe I could be a different person there.

Johanna’s pretty; even I can see that. It makes people, all kinds of people, happy to look at her, and they look at her longer than they mean to. I, on the other hand, make people nervous. Except for Opa, people don’t like to look right at me.

And everyone always wants me to do better than I am doing. They say it’s because they want the best for me. But it doesn’t feel good. The older I get, the further behind I am. I don’t have enough

friends. I haven’t finished enough homework. My room is not clean enough. I wasn’t polite enough to my parents’ guests. And the hardest of all: people don’t like me enough. It’s really hard work to get people to like you. Or maybe I’m especially easy to dislike.

Opa’s study has a big mirror on the door. Standing in front of it, I’m surprised by how white my skin is. My hair is black, and I have a big nose. Opa says that’s because most of the families in town have Roman heritage, and that I must have ended up with the local hair and nose. Opa tells me this town has been around for at least a hundred generations. We go for walks in the hills around the village, and he shows me where the Roman roads, walls, and vineyards were. How can anyone know so much?

Even better, Opa is the one person who knows me. Last week he brought me a present from Bonn. I opened up the long, little box and removed a black, elegant Pelikan fountain pen. It came with a bottle of ink.

He then pulled out a fresh new ledger. I had to laugh. Opa knows how much I hate math at school. It doesn’t feel real—like somebody got paid to think up a bunch of problems to drive kids like me crazy.

But Opa keeps telling me how important math is for real life, even if I don’t think so now.

For the rest of that afternoon, Opa taught me double-entry bookkeeping in ink. Real-life stuff I can actually use even now, when I’m nine years old, to keep track of the little money I earn and spend. He told me that reckoning in German marks was only for practice, because they were going to disappear in a few years, replaced by the euro.

He also taught me that money is magic, and that if you give a lot of it away to improve the world, you’ll always have more left over than you started with. That’s not what my teacher says about

subtraction, but I know, without a doubt, that Opa is right, as usual. He showed me his accounting books, going back to the 1940s. The numbers got bigger and bigger over the years.

“How does that work?” I asked

.

He showed me the number in a special column telling how much he gave away last year. I gasped, and my hand came to my mouth.

“That’s how,” he answered.

I asked him what I would do if I made a bookkeeping mistake with the pen.

“You won’t,” he said and smiled.

Opa believes in God. My parents are not so sure. !is confusesme all the time. Opa takes me to church on Sundays. We walk down the hill together. He and I are evangelisch—Protestant or Evangelical. It’s hard to translate the term into English. Most of our neighbors in Oberwinter are Catholic. Our stone Protestant church is very small, very old, and musty smelling. !e temperature is always cooler inside than outside. I sometimes fall asleep there on Opa’s shoulder, and he likes that.

The organist is amazing. She plays on national radio. And the organ is very old: 1722 is painted on the pipes. For the rest of my life, I’m going to make sure I can listen to organ music. My imagination

can go almost anywhere when she’s playing. After every Sunday service, the organist gives a little concert from the rear balcony where she sits. We stand, lean on the pews behind us, and watch her. We always clap when she’s done.

Johanna comes with us sometimes, but Opa says it’s important to go to church only when you want to. For whatever reason, Opa and I always want to. Maybe it’s just so we can spend Sundays together, but I know Opa would go even if I didn’t exist. It seems to help him be happy all the time and everywhere. I hope he’ll teach me this magic when I’m old enough.

I don’t understand much about what goes on in church, but I love it when they read the Bible stories for children’s worship, and the littler kids come and plop right down on my lap, as if they belong there. !is Sunday was the story about Joshua and the walls of Jericho. The German Bible says the Israelites were blowing trombones, and Opa’s English Bible says trumpets. Things like that make me think.

I hear the door.

Opa’s home.

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Life sure could be different…..

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if I only had two children! I am not sure I would know what to do with myself. It is funny, my older two boys and my husband have been out of town, and I sure have gotten a lot done. I have been staying busy! My sister has been here with me, family visiting, among other things. It is funny how some things are so much harder, and others are easier. I took them out to eat for one thing, it was so easy and cheap.

Also, they have been going to bed much easier, they make more messes though, and run out of things to do more. They talk to me all day long, which is nice, until my voice gets tired. I have been taking them to the park, on walks, we have made things together, they are easier to keep on a schedule. But, still, when I had all four boys on the weekend, it was still pretty easy.

I helped my mom go through her coat closet and clean out some books, we stocked the bookstore with bibles and lots of books. I hope people go and visit and find some treasures. There are some great books there. I finally organized it, and make it look nice. I hope it helps people to find more things they are looking for. Of course, this was after a long drive there. It is always neat to visit the store too, and get some food deals.  I mean, salad dressing for .25 a bottle, you can use it for marinade then and not feel bad!

Last Saturday was my sister’s baby celebration and memorial shower. It was bittersweet. She shared some things about Ellina’s birth and her pregnancy. One thing she shared was a story that she had heard at another funeral where people were asking why. The man said that the shepherds lead their sheep to lush green pastures to feed, but if they stay there too long, they get sick.It is hard to take them away from all the green grass though, so he picks up a lamb and puts it on his shoulders and then the mother and others start to follow. He said sometimes we get so content here on earth and we sort of forget there is something better and He leads us by taking a little ones to remind us there is something much better to look forward to.

I thought it was encouraging to remember that. We do have heaven to look forward to and seeing our loved ones again.

I cooked, cleaned and cooked and cleaned until I think my legs should have fallen off. I have more cleaning to do here at home, and we will see if I am going to get it done.

This month has been very cold for some reason, and my plants do not look well. They have been too wet. We will see if the warming trend will happen now. I had to use my heater the other day! That was going too far!

I am off to bed! My foot is throbbing as I ran into a bicycle, while late for VBS this morning. We were all on track for getting out the door on time, when my brain who has been on strike the last day or two, forgot where I put the keys. A frantic dash, a frantic prayer to God to help us find them and retracing my steps, I got them and they were only one minute late, but my poor foot is scraped and bruised as I thwacked it really hard!!!

A heating pad, warm blanket and some good spoons of calcium magnesium sounds like the ticket for me! Good night!

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Filed under Daily Happenings

Rhubarb Berry Pie bars

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Rhubarb Berry Pie bars
Pastry:

3-3/4 c. flour
1.5 tsp. salt
1.5 c. shortening
2 egg yolks + enough milk to make 1 c.
(Save egg white)
Cut in shortening into flour and salt mixture. Add egg and milk mixture.

Divide in half. Roll out in the bottom of a large jelly roll pan and up sides.

6 c. thinly sliced rhubarb
2 c. mixed berries or strawberries
1 c. sugar
1/2. c. flour
Mix well. Pour on top of crust in Jelly roll pan.
Roll remaining pastry out thinly. It will not cover the top completely, but spread out pieces of pie dough evenly over the top of the pan. (You may have to adjust the amount of milk and egg. This pie crust is a bit hard to handle, but comes out nice and flaky) Use a pastry brush, and brush egg white over crust and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is evenly browned and fruit is bubbly.

This is a great way to use rhubarb! I made this on the weekend for my sister’s baby shower.

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Filed under Bargain Dinners, Recipes

Indelible by Kristen Heizmann

My Review:
This begins with a frantic chase and dash to save a toddler from the mouth of a mountain lion, a girl with a gift or curse, and an evil watcher looking to destroy.

I have always been a fan of Kristen’s books, and this one, with some of the same characters as a previous book, draws you in like her other mysteries. Interwoven with stories of unique characters, some of them can drive you crazy. Sara drove me crazy in this book! Natalie, with her unique way of using art to deal with realities and the toddler’s mother, who would abandon her child at the drop of a hat, will endear you and irritate you.

This story is one that you will not want to put down! -Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Indelible

WaterBrook Press (May 3, 2011)

***Special thanks to Lynette Kittle, Senior Publicist, WaterBrook Multnomah, a Division of Random House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristen Heitzmann’s gift of crafting stories has ranked her as the award-winning and best-selling author of two historical series and twelve contemporary, psychological and romantic suspense novels including Indivisible. As an artist and musician, Kristen lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and a continuous stream of extended family, various pets, and wildlife.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Award-wining and best-selling author Kristen Heitzmann brings another suspense story to life in Indelible (WaterBrook, May 3, 2011).

Follow Trevor MacDaniel, a high country outfitter, as he rescues a toddler from the jaws of a mountain lion. Discover how he can’t foresee the far-reaching consequences of his action, how it will entwine his life with gifted sculptor, Natalie Reeve—and attract a grim admirer.

Find out how Trevor’s need to guard and protect is born of tragedy, prompting his decision to become a search and rescue volunteer. And how Natalie’s gift of sculpting comes from an unusual disability that seeks release through her creative hands.

See how in each other they learn strength and courage as they face an incomprehensible foe…a twisted soul, who is drawn by the heroic story of the child’s rescue. One who sees Trevor as archangel and adversary, and threatens their peaceful mountain community—testing Trevor’s limits by targeting their most helpless and innocent.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400073103
ISBN-13: 978-1400073108

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

A veined bolt of lightning sliced the ozone-scented sky as Trevor plunged down the craggy slope, dodging evergreen spires like slalom poles. Rocks and gravel spewed from his boots and caromed off the vertical pitch.

“Trevor.” Whit skidded behind him. “We’re not prepared for this.”

No. But he hurled himself after the tawny streak. He was not losing that kid.

“He’s suffocated,” Whit shouted. “His neck’s broken.”

Trevor leaped past a man—probably the dad—gripping his snapped shinbone. Whit could help there. Digging his heels into the shifting pine needles, Trevor gave chase, outmatched and unwavering. His heart pumped hard as he neared the base of the gulch, jumping from a lichen-crusted stone to a fallen trunk. The cougar jumped the creek, lost its grip, and dropped the toddler. Yes.

He splashed into the icy flow, dispersing scattered leaves like startled goldfish. After driving his hand into the water, he gripped a stone and raised it. Not heavy, not nearly heavy enough.

Lowering its head over the helpless prey, the mountain lion snarled a spine-chilling warning. There was no contest, but the cat, an immature male, might not realize its advantage, might not know its fear of man was mere illusion. Thunder crackled. Trevor tasted blood where he’d bitten his tongue.

Advancing, he engaged the cat’s eyes, taunting it to charge or run. The cat backed up, hissing. A yearling cub, able to snatch a tot from the trail, but unprepared for this fearless challenge. Too much adrenaline for fear. Too much blood on the ground.

With a shout, he heaved the rock. As the cat streaked up the mountainside, he charged across the creek to the victim. He’d steeled himself for carnage, but even so, the nearly severed arm, the battered, bloody feet… His nose filled with the musky lion scent, the rusty smell of blood. He reached out. No pulse.

He dropped to his knees as Whit joined him from behind, on guard. He returned the boy’s arm to the socket, and holding it there with one trembling hand, Trevor began CPR with his other. On a victim so small, it took hardly any force, his fingers alone performing the compressions. The lion had failed to trap the victim’s face in its mouth. By grabbing the back of the head, neck, and shoulder, it had actually protected those vulnerable parts. But blood streamed over the toddler’s face from a deep cut high on the scalp, and he still wasn’t breathing.

Trevor bent to puff air into the tiny lungs, compressed again with his fingers, and puffed as lightly as he would to put out a match. Come on. He puffed and compressed while Whit watched for the cat’s return. Predators fought for their kills—even startled ones.

A whine escaped the child’s mouth. He jerked his legs, emitting a highpitched moan. Trevor shucked his jacket and tugged his T-shirt off over his head. He tied the sleeves around the toddler’s arm and shoulder, pulled the rest around, and swaddled the damaged feet—shoes and socks long gone. Thunder reverberated. The first hard drops smacked his skin. Tenderly, he pulled the child into his chest and draped the jacket over as a different rumble chopped the air. They had started up the mountain to find two elderly hikers who’d been separated from their party. Whit must have radioed the helicopter. He looked up. This baby might live because two old guys had gotten lost.

In the melee at the trailhead, Natalie clutched her sister-in-law’s hands, the horror of the ordeal still rocking them. As Aaron and little Cody were airlifted from the mountain, she breathed, “They’re going to be all right.”

“You don’t know that.” Face splotched and pale, Paige swung her head. Though her hair hung in wet blond strands, her makeup was weatherproof, her cologne still detectable. Even dazed, her brother’s wife looked and smelled expensive.

“The lion’s grip protected Cody’s head and neck,” one of the paramedics had told them. “It could have been so much worse.”

Paige started to sob. “His poor arm. What if he loses his arm?”

“Don’t go there.” What good was there in thinking it?

“How will he do the stuff boys do? I thought he’d be like Aaron, the best kid on the team.”

“He’ll be the best kid no matter what.”

“In the Special Olympics?”

Natalie recoiled at the droplets of spit that punctuated the bitter words.

“He’s alive, Paige. What were the odds those men from search and rescue would be right there with a helicopter already on standby?”

“We shouldn’t have needed it.” Paige clenched her teeth. “Aaron’s supposed to be recovering. He would have been if you weren’t such a freak.”

“What?” She’d endured Paige’s unsubtle resentment, but “ freak” ?

“Let me go.” Paige jerked away, careening toward the SUV.

Natalie heard the engine roar, the gravel flung by the spinning tires, but all she saw was the hate in Paige’s eyes, the pain twisting her brother’s face as he held his fractured leg, little Cody in the lion’s maw, the man leaping after…

She needed to clear the images, but it wouldn’t happen here. Around her, press vans and emergency vehicles drained from the lot, leaving the scent of exhaust and tire scars in the rusty mud. Paige had stranded her.

“Freak.” Heart aching, she took a shaky step toward the road. It hadn’t been that long a drive from the studio. A few miles. Maybe five. She hadn’t really watched—because Aaron was watching for her. Off the roster for a pulled oblique, he had seen an opportunity to finalize her venture and help her move, help her settle in, and see if she could do it. She’d been so thankful. How could any of them have known it would come to this? Trevor’s spent muscles shook with dumped adrenaline. He breathed the moist air in through his nose, willing his nerves to relax. Having gotten all they were going to get from him, most of the media had left the trailhead, following the story to the hospital. Unfortunately, Jaz remained.

She said, “You live for this, don’t you?” Pulling her fiery red hair into a messy ponytail didn’t disguise her incendiary nature or the smoldering coals reserved for him. He accepted the towel Whit handed him and wiped the rain from his head and neck, hoping she wouldn’t see the shakes. The late-summer storm had lowered the temperature enough she might think he was shivering.

“Whose idea was it to chase?”

“It’s not like you think about it. You just act.” Typing into her BlackBerry, she said, “Acted without thinking.”

“Come on, Jaz.” She couldn’t still be on his case.

“Interesting your being in place for the dramatic rescue of a pro athlete’s kid. Not enough limelight lately?”

“We were on another search.” She cocked her eyebrow. “You had no idea the victim’s dad plays center field for the Rockies?”

“Yeah, I got his autograph on the way down.” He squinted at the nearly empty parking lot. “Aren’t you following the story?”

“What do you think this is?”

“You got the same as everyone. That’s all I have to say.”

“You told us what happened. I want the guts. How did it feel? What were you thinking?” She planted a hand on her hip. “Buy me a drink?” He’d rather go claw to claw with another mountain lion. But considering the ways she could distort this, he relented. “The Summit?”

“I’d love to.” She pocketed her BlackBerry and headed for her car. Whit raised his brows at her retreat. “Still feeling reckless?”

“Sometimes it’s better to take her head on.”

“Like the cat?” Whit braced his hips.

“The cat was young, inexperienced.”

“You didn’t know that.”

“There was a chance the child wasn’t dead.”

“What if it hadn’t run?”

“If it attacked, you’d have been free to grab the kid.”

“Nice for you, getting mauled.”

“If it got ugly, I’d have shot it.”

“Shot?”

He showed him the Magnum holstered against the small of his back.

Whit stared at him, stone-faced. “You had your gun and you used a rock?”

“I was pretty sure it would run.”

“Pretty sure,” Whit said. “So, what? It wouldn’t be fair to use your weapon?”

It had been the cat against him on some primal level the gun hadn’t entered into. He said, “I could have hit the boy, or the cat could have dropped him down the gulch. When it did let go, I realized its inexperience and knew we had a chance to scare it off. Department of Wildlife can decide its fate. I was after the child.”

“Okay, fine.” With a hard exhale, Whit rubbed his face. “This was bad.”

Trevor nodded. Until today, the worst he’d seen over four years of rescues was a hiker welded to a tree by lightning and an ice climber’s impalement on a jagged rock spear. There’d been no death today, but Whit looked sick. “You’re a new dad. Seeing that little guy had to hit you right in the gut.” Whit canted his head.

“I’m just saying.” Trevor stuffed his shaking hands into his jacket pockets. The storm passed, though the air still smelled of wet earth and rain. He drove Whit back, then went home to shower before meeting Jazmyn Dufoe at the Summit. Maybe he’d just start drinking now. Arms aching, Natalie drove her hands into the clay. On the huge, square Corian table, two busts looked back at her: Aaron in pain, and Paige, her fairy-tale life rent by a primal terror that sprang without warning. She had pushed and drawn and formed the images locked in her mind, even though her hands burned with the strain.

No word had come from the Children’s Hospital in Denver, where the police chief said they’d taken Cody, or from the hospital that had Aaron. Waiting to hear anything at all made a hollow in her stomach. She heaved a new block of clay to the table, wedged and added it to the mound already softened. Just as she started to climb the stepstool, her phone rang. She plunged her hands into the water bucket and swabbed
them with a towel, silently begging for good news. “Aaron?”

Not her brother, but a nurse calling. “Mr. Reeve asked me to let you know he came through surgery just fine. He’s stable, and the prognosis is optimistic. He doesn’t want you to worry.”

Natalie pressed her palm to her chest with relief. “Did he say anything about Cody? Is there any news?”

“No, he didn’t say. I’m sure he’ll let you know as soon as he hears something.”

“Of course. Thank you so much for calling.”

Natalie climbed back onto the stool, weary but unable to stop. Normally, the face was enough, but this required more. She molded clay over stiff wire-mesh, drawing it up, up, proportionately taller than an average man, shoulders that bore the weight of other people’s fear, one arm wielding a stone, the other enfolding the little one. The rescuer hadn’t held both at once, but she combined the actions to release both images.

She had stared hard at his face for only a moment before he plunged over the ridge, yet retained every line and plane of it. Determination and fortitude in the cut of his mouth, selfless courage in the eyes. There’d been fear for Cody. And himself ? Not of the situation, but something…

It came through her hands in the twist of his brow. A heroic face, aware of the danger, capable of failing, unwilling to hold back. Using fingers and tools, she moved the powerful images trapped by her eidetic memory through her hands to the clay, creating an exterior storage that freed her mind, and immortalizing him—whoever he was. The Summit bar was packed and buzzing, the rescue already playing on televisions visible from every corner. With the whole crowd toasting and congratulating him, Jaz played nice—until he accepted her ride home and infuriated her all over again by not inviting her in.

He’d believed that dating women whose self-esteem reached egotistical meant parting ways wouldn’t faze them. Jaz destroyed that theory. She was not only embittered but vindictive. After turning on the jets, Trevor sank into his spa, letting the water beat his lower- and mid-lumbar muscles.

He pressed the remote to open the horizontal blinds and to look out through the loft windows.

Wincing, he reached in and rubbed the side of his knee. That plunge down the slope had cost him, but, given the outcome, he didn’t consider it a judgment error. That honor went to putting himself once more at the top of Jaz’s hate list. He maneuvered his knee into the pressure of a jet. When he got out, he’d ice it. If he got out.

He closed his eyes and pictured the battered toddler. The crowd’s attention had kept the thoughts at bay, easy to talk about the cat, how mountain lions rarely attacked people, how he and Whit had scared it off, how DOW would euthanize if they caught it, how his only priority had been to get the child. He had segued into the business he and Whit had opened the previous spring, rock and ice climbing, land and water excursions, cross-country ski and snowshoe when the season turned.

That was his business, but rescuing was in his blood, had been since his dad made him the man of the house by not coming home one night or any thereafter. At first, the nightmares had been bad—all the things that could go wrong: fire, snakes, tarantulas, tornadoes. They had populated his dreams until he woke drenched in sweat, cursing his father for trusting him to do what a grown man couldn’t.

The phone rang. He sloshed his arm up, dried his hand on the towel lying beside it, and answered. “Hey, Whit.”

“You doing okay?”

“Knee hurts. You?”

“Oh sure. You know—”

“Hold on. There’s someone at the door.”

“Yeah. Me and Sara.”

Trevor said, “Cute. Where’s your key?”

“Forgot it.”

Gingerly, he climbed over the side, then wrapped a towel around his hips, and let them in.

“You mind?” Whit frowned at the towel, although Sara hadn’t batted an eye.

She came in and made herself at home. Whit carried their twomonth- old asleep in his car seat to a resting place. Trevor threw on Under Armour shorts and a clean T-shirt, then rejoined them. “So what’s up?”

“Nice try, Trevor.” Sara fixed him with a look. “I especially like the practiced nonchalance.”

He grinned. “Hey, I’ve got it down.”

“With Jaz, maybe. No claw marks?”

“Too public.”

Whit rubbed his wife’s shoulder. “We knew you’d worry this thing, so Sara brought the remedy.”

She drew the Monopoly box out of her oversize bag with a grin that said she intended to win and would, wearing them down with her wheeling and dealing. “I’ll take that silly railroad off your hands. It’s no good to you when I have the other three.”

He rubbed his hands, looking into her bold blue eyes. “Bring it.”

The mindless activity and their chatter lightened his mood as Sara had intended. She knew him as well as Whit, maybe better. Each time he caught the concern, he reassured her with a smile. He’d be fine.

Whit played his get-out-of-jail card and freed his cannon. “Hear what’s going in next door to us?”

“No.”

“An art gallery.”

“Yeah?” Trevor adjusted the ice pack on his knee.

“Place called Nature Waits.”

“Waits for what?”

Whit shrugged. “Have to ask the lady sculptor.”

“Won’t exactly draw for our kind of customer.”

“At least it won’t compete.” Sara rolled the dice and moved her pewter shoe. “Another outfitter could have gone in. I’ll buy Park Place.”

Both men mouthed, “I’ll buy Park Place.”

She shot them a smile.

Two hours later, she had bankrupted them with her thoughtful loans and exorbitant use of hotels on prime properties. He closed the door behind them, and it hit. He raised the toilet seat and threw up, then pressed his back to the wall and rested his head, breathing deeply. The shaking returned, and this time he couldn’t blame adrenaline. He had literally puffed the life back into that tiny body. If that child had died in his arms…

Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed
Alone th’ antagonist of Heaven, nor less
Than Hell’s dread Emperor, with pomp supreme,
And god-like imitated state.

Child snatched from lion’s jaws. Two-year-old spared in deadly attack. Rescuer Trevor MacDaniel, champion of innocents, protector of life. Cameras rolling, flashes flashing, earnest newscasters recounted the tale. “On this mountain, a miracle. What could have been a tragedy became a triumph through the courage of this man who challenged a mountain lion to save a toddler attacked while hiking with his father, center-fielder…”

He consumed the story in drunken drafts. Eyes swimming, he gazed upon the noble face, the commanding figure on the TV screen. In that chest beat valiance. In those hands lay salvation. His heart made a slow drum in his ears. A spark ignited, purpose quickening.

Years he’d waited. He spread his own marred hands, instruments of instruction, of destruction. With slow deliberation, he closed them into fists. What use was darkness if not to try the light?

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My busy weeks……

I have had some really busy weeks the last while! I posted about the book sale…..and I went to a wedding party.
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At the Amish Auction

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Book table I was manning
I got sunburnt the beginning of the day, in spite of light sunscreen, and then got my socks soaked later when it poured rain!

Then I took a group of kids on a school trip field trip
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Everyone listening to the rules

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The library in this big mansion we went through

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The owners desk

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Laundry room

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Sewing room

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The boys on the porch

Then my husband and oldest two boys took off on some trips, so I took the younger two out for a special date. Perkins!!! They had one child free and I had a 20% off coupon too.
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Yesterday, I accomplished a long list of things, including washing down bathrooms, cleaning the laundry room, vacuuming, washing floors, walls, and doing some sewing.

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A present for someone

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A skirt in progress

Now, I am off to go take my serger in to see if I can get needles for it, and new bobbins for my other machine. I cannot sew with only one bobbin!

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Filed under Daily Happenings

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

My Review:

This story, a reminded me of Frank Peretti’s This present Darkness, in some ways. This story is the story of a hurting man and a hurting child, and showing how  when demonic forces get involved with human sin how life can be a mess.

Jamie, a young girl longing for love, with a special gift, seeks out her beloved teacher at his home. She is seeking safety, but he is a mess himself.  When he finds himself accused of harming her and possibly other crimes, he wonders what else is involved?  Can he overcome the pain from the loss of his daughter in the past? Will he see his son again? Can he help Jamie?

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Canary List

WaterBrook Press (June 21, 2011)

***Special thanks to Lynette Kittle, Senior Publicist, WaterBrook Multnomah, a Division of Random House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Sigmund Brouwer is the bestselling author of Broken Angel and nineteen other novels, with close to three million books in print. His work has appeared in Time, The Tennessean, on Good Morning America and other media. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two young daughters.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer of Broken Angel, releases another suspense thriller in The Canary List (WaterBrook Press, June 21, 2011).

Jaimie is just a twelve year-old girl, bumped around between foster homes and relegated to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. But her real problem is that she can sense something the other kids can’t—something dark. Something compelling her to run for her life.

And all Crockett Grey wants is to mark the anniversary of his daughter’s death alone.

But when his student Jaimie comes to him terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, initiating a tangled web of bizarre events that sends them both spiraling toward destruction.

Crockett’s one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie’s past and her strange gift. It isn’t long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world—the Vatican.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (June 21, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307446468
ISBN-13: 978-0307446466

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Prologue

She knew that they hurt the boy, because he told her, always, the mornings after he was returned.

She was the only one the boy trusted. She was five and he was four. Each time he was returned to the house, it seemed he had grown smaller.

Black walls and candles, he said. Hoods and robes, like the scary people in Scooby Doo cartoons. Except it wasn’t a cartoon. He couldn’t describe what the people in hoods and robes did to him because he would start shaking and sobbing as he made the attempt.

He told her it must be something they ate that made them so mean to him. Hales.

She didn’t know what hales were and neither did he. But he told her about two pieces of wood crossed, and how they trampled it and kept repeating about the hales they had ate in, but he never knew what they ate the hales in, because they never finished explaining. They just said ‘hales ate in’ and left it at that.

On the last night she saw the boy, she was in his bedroom at the foster home. They heard the car drive up and looked out the window and saw it was
them again. She had his toy bow and arrow set, and she vowed to the boy that she wouldn’t let them take him again.

She was ready when the man in the mask came into the bedroom. She aimed the arrow at the eyes of the tall man, and the rubber suction cup of the
toy arrow hit him squarely in his left eye. He cursed and lifted the mask and rubbed his eye before he realized that she was the one who had fired the arrow,
not the boy. He dropped the mask into place and, with a snort of rage, stepped forward and swept her away with a blow across her face.

“I am The Prince,” he said, as she struggled to her knees. He moved to stand over her. “Bow to me.”

His face. She had seen it before. He was someone she saw at church on Sundays. In a robe at the front, handing out bread to people as they bowed
down in front of him.

She did not want to bow.

Instead she rose in defiance and spit on his leg. He lashed out again, hitting her across the cheek. She tried to scream, but the pain was too great.

Another man in another mask stepped into the bedroom and pulled him away. Then they took the boy.

She never saw the boy again. He went to live at another house, the people at the house said.

But the man with the mask came back. He wore the mask while he hurt her again. In horrible ways. He promised if she told anyone, he could come
back and kill her and then kill the people of the house.

So she didn’t tell anyone. She tried to believe it was a dream. A very bad dream.

But some nights she would wake up and shiver and cry and wonder where the boy was. And she would wonder, too, what hales were and what they ate the hales in and how it was that hales could make people so horrible.

Chapter 1

Evil hunted her.

It had driven her toward the beach, where, protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper crept toward the front window of a small bungalow a few
blocks off the ocean in Santa Monica.

She knew it was wrong, sneaking up on her schoolteacher like this, but she couldn’t help herself. She was afraid—really afraid—and she wanted his help.

First she had to make sure he was alone. If he was with someone else, she wouldn’t bother him.

The sound of night bugs was louder than the traffic on the main boulevard that intersected this quiet street. It was June, and the air was warm and
had the tangy smell of ocean. The grass was cool and wet. She felt the dew soaking through her canvas high-top Converse sneakers. Jaimie wasn’t one to
worry about fashion. She just liked the way the sneakers felt and looked. Okay, maybe she liked them too because none of the other kids her age wore them.

Jaimie was twelve. Slender and tall, she had long, fine hair that she tended to wear in a ponytail with a ball cap. If she let it hang loose, it softened her appearance to the point where others viewed her as girlie, something she hated.

The alternative was to cut it herself, because her foster parents didn’t like wasting money by sending her to a beauty salon, but cutting it herself would just remind her that she was nothing but a foster kid, so she just let it grow. And wore Converse sneakers that looked anything but girlie.

Not only was it wrong to be sneaking up on her teacher’s house, but it was wrong even to know where he lived. Jaimie knew that. But his wallet had been open on his desk once, with his driver’s license showing behind a clear plastic window, and she’d read it upside down while she was talking to him and had memorized his address.

Although this was the first time she’d stopped, she had ridden her bike past his house plenty of times, wondering what it would be like if she lived in
the little house near the beach.

It wasn’t the house that drew her. It was dreaming about what it would be like to have a family, and it seemed the perfect house for a family with a mom and a dad and a couple of girls.

A real family. A house that they had lived in for years and years, with a yard and a couple of dogs. Beagles. She loved beagles.

Her mom would be a little pudgy but someone who laughed all the time. Jaimie didn’t like the moms she saw who were cool and hip and trying to outdo their daughters in skinniness and tight-fitting jeans.

Her dad would not have perfect hair and drive a BMW. Jaimie didn’t have friends, because Jaimie wasn’t a friend kind of person, but she knew girls at
school with dads like that, and those girls didn’t seem happy. If Jaimie had a dad, he’d be the kind of guy who went to barbers, not stylists, and had hair that
was always a couple of weeks past needing a barber, who wore jeans and didn’t tuck in his shirt and always dropped everything to listen to whatever story his
girl wanted to tell him.

A dad like Mr. G, her teacher. He drove an old Jeep, the kind with canvas top and roll bars. Sometimes she’d see a surfboard strapped to the top of it, canvas top gone. Mr. G had that kind of surfer-dude look, with the long hair and a long nose bent a little. Not perfect kind of handsome, but a face you still
looked at twice. Some of the girls in her class had a crush on him.

Not Jaimie.

She just wished she could have a dad like him and a house like the house he lived in. Sometimes when she was really lonely, she would ride her bike in the neighborhood, pretending it was her home and that when she got there, she’d be able to wheel up the sidewalk and drop her bike on the grass and leave
it there, because if it really was her family, no one would get upset about little things like that.

It wasn’t that she just had a good feeling about him. It was that Jaimie knew Mr. G could be trusted. Jaimie had a sense about people, a sense that sometimes haunted her.

Like earlier tonight, when she’d met a guy who had come to her house to talk to her foster parents. She’d watched his eyes as he checked the layout of the
house, standing in the kitchen, saying that he was from Social Services. She had taken her bracelet off to hand wash some dishes, and without it on her
wrist, she’d felt the Evil that radiated from him. Evil that hunted her.

So while the man with Evil was talking to her foster parents, she’d grabbed her bracelet and snuck out of the house and jumped on her bike. Dusk was just turning black when she began the twenty-minute ride from the large old house toward the ocean, where she often snuck at night anyway to walk the beach.

But the feeling of Evil was still so real she couldn’t shake it. She wanted—no, needed—to talk to someone about it. Wanted—no, needed—to feel safe. Somehow.

The one person who had promised to help wasn’t answering her phone. That only left Mr. G. The only other person in the world she could trust.
She made it to the side of the window at his house. She inched her head up to peek through the glass.

She saw a single candle.

And Mr. G on the couch. Holding a big book open in his lap.

She watched, knowing she shouldn’t watch.

It looked like he was talking to the book.

And then he glanced up, and for that split second, it seemed like he was staring right into her eyes.

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